The prayer of Elizabeth (Lk 1:25-1:25)

“Elizabeth said.

‘This is what

The Lord

Has done to me.

He looked on me.

He took away

The disgrace

That I have endured

Among my people.’”

 

λέγουσα

ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος ἐν ἡμέραις αἷς ἐπεῖδεν ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός μου ἐν ἀνθρώποις.

 

Luke has this prayer of Elizabeth.  She said that the Lord had done this to her (ὅτι Οὕτως μοι πεποίηκεν Κύριος).  Many believed that only God could help people get pregnant, since he controlled the opening and closing of the womb, as indicated in Genesis, chapter 16:2, about Sarah and being barren.  That was the reason that there were so many pagan fertility gods, rites, and rituals, since giving birth was considered to be some kind of magical or divine action.  Also, contemporary political gesturing around reproductive rights has its basis in religious beliefs.  Elizabeth said that in those days (ἐν ἡμέραις), the Lord had looked on her (αἷς ἐπεῖδεν), since he took away her disgrace or reproach (ἀφελεῖν ὄνειδός) that she had endured among her people or other men (ἐν ἀνθρώποις).  Being barren or sterile was considered a punishment from God.  The prime example of a happiness at birth would have been in Genesis, chapter 29:31-30:23, where Rachel finally had a son, Joseph.  Elizabeth understood her pregnancy as a personal vindication or reward for her righteousness.  She did not seem to understand the wider consequences of her pregnancy.

 

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The value of the lighted lamp (Mt 5:15-5:16)

“No one,

After lighting a lamp,

Puts it

Under a bushel,

But on the lampstand.

It gives light

To all in the house.

In the same way,

Let your light

Shine before others,

So that they may see

Your good works.

They give glory

To your Father,

Who is in heaven.”

 

οὐδὲ καίουσιν λύχνον καὶ τιθέασιν αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τὸν μόδιον, ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τὴν λυχνίαν, καὶ λάμπει πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ.

οὕτως λαμψάτω τὸ φῶς ὑμῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ὅπως ἴδωσιν ὑμῶν τὰ καλὰ ἔργα καὶ δοξάσωσιν τὸν πατέρα ὑμῶν τὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.

 

This saying of Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 4:21, and Luke, chapter 8:16. This time, Matthew is closer to Luke. After lighting a lamp (καίουσιν λύχνον), no one puts it under a bushel (οὐδὲ… καὶ τιθέασιν αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τὸν μόδιον), but rather on a lampstand (ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τὴν λυχνίαν). Thus, the light from the lit candle lamp would shine on everyone in the house (καὶ λάμπει πᾶσιν τοῖς ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ). Once again, Matthew, instead of leaving it generic, applied this to his disciples. Their light should shine before other men (οὕτως λαμψάτω τὸ φῶς ὑμῶν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων). Thus, others would see their good works, (ὅπως ἴδωσιν ὑμῶν τὰ καλὰ ἔργα), since it was not about faith alone. The ultimate result would be that others would glorify their heavenly father (καὶ δοξάσωσιν τὸν πατέρα ὑμῶν τὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς). This is the first mention of their father in heaven (τὸν πατέρα ὑμῶν τὸν ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς), since the scene after the Baptism of Jesus just had a voice from heaven (φωνὴ ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν) talk about his beloved son, not explicitly the heavenly father.